I Will Not Let You Go Until You Bless Me …

It is true that if you read the Jewish literature and you read Jewish history, happiness is not the first word that comes to mind  … And yet somehow or other when all of that is at an end, we get together and we celebrate … And that to me is how I have always defined my faith as a Jew. The definition of a Jew, Israel is at it says in Genesis 34, one who struggles, wrestles, with God and with humanity and prevails. And Jacob says something very profound to the angel.  He says, “I will not let you go until you bless me.” And that I feel about suffering. When something bad happens, I will not let go of that bad thing until I have discovered the blessing that lies within it.  When my late father died — now I’m in mourning for my late mother — that sense of grief and bereavement suddenly taught me that so many things that I thought were important, externals, etc., all of that is irrelevant. You lose a parent, you suddenly realize what a slender thing life is, how easily you can lose those you love. Then out of that comes a new simplicity and that is why sometimes all the pain and the tears lift you to a much higher and deeper joy when you say to the bad times, “I will not let you go until you bless me.”
—  Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks (excerpted from an interview with Krista Tippett: On Being – The Dignity of Difference)

Somehow, within every crisis lies the glorious possibility of rebirth. I have found, and so surely have many others, that the events that at the time were the most painful, were also those that in retrospect most caused us to grow. They helped us to make difficult but necessary decisions. They forced us to ask: “Who am I and what really matters to me?” They moved us from the surface to the depths, where we discovered strengths we did not know we had, and a clarity of purpose we had hitherto lacked. I have learnt to say to every crisis: “I will not let you go until you bless me”.  The struggle is not easy. Though Jacob was undefeated, after it he “limped”. Battles leave scars. Yet God is with us even when he seems to be against us. For if we refuse to let go of him, He refuses to let go of us, giving us the strength to survive and emerge stronger, wiser, blessed.
Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks (excerpted from “Credo: How Jacob conquered the defining crisis of his life” published in The Times on May 29, 2009)

Joy will sneak up on you when you view your hardest lessons as gifts from God.
— Charles Swindoll from Insights for Living

Turn your wounds into wisdom.
— Oprah Winfrey

Advertisements